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A half-dozen flags have flown over one of the greatest real estate coups in American history, and Louisiana is currently home to thriving communities of Cajun French and Louisiana Creole French speakers, as well as Islenos, descendants of Canary Islanders who migrated in the late 18th century. Its lush, haunting topography is equally romantic and mysterious. The vast alluvial region surrounding New Orleans encompasses more than 25,000 square miles of marshland and bayous, or boggy inlets of the Mississippi River.

The hilly northern part of the state is only slightly elevated, with the summit of mount Driskill, the highest point in Louisiana, measuring a vertiginous 535 feet above sea level. New Orleans is the primary draw, but recommended day trips from the city include Baton Rouge, the seat of Louisiana politics; St. Bernard Parish, home of Isleno culture; and Barataria, former stomping grounds of the dead pirate Jean Lafitte.
 -courtesy Andrew Harper


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